“Despite declaring coal would be gone from all DOC huts two years ago, it is still being burned on a regular basis to warm Department of Conservation huts with no plan to stop,” says ACT’s Conservation spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“This is yet another example of Labour’s misguided priorities and inability to deliver. Taxpayers are funding schemes that are doomed to fail.

"In 2021 DOC said there were 31 huts relying on coal that would all have transferred to wood by the end of 2021. It is now 2023, and only four have made the transition.

“Coal may well be essential to keep some DOC huts heated. If that’s the case the government should never have promised to get rid of it in the first place.

"Now taxpayers are being forced to pay for DOC's crazy climate targets that they’ll never be able to deliver on. This is yet another example of wasteful spending for no practical purpose.

"The government should be tasking them with building tracks and maintaining huts so our conservation estate remains the major international attraction it should be.

“The Conservation Minister couldn’t commit to a date by which they aim to have coal use phased out by. They don’t keep track of the year-by-year cost of coal transportation to DOC owned huts, or details on the forms of transport they use to transfer it, but they do admit that helicopters are sometimes used to transport the coal. It’s clear that DOC has no plan to fulfil this policy, and Labour should have recognised this from the beginning.

“Labour has governed on good intentions but hasn’t bothered to think any of its policy through. ACT stands for real change, and evidence-based policy that actually solves a problem.”

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